Portland lesbian talks about recovery since shooting that killed her girlfriend

Olgin.Chapa.sketch

A sketch of the suspect in the shooting. Portland police now have one main suspect who’s incarcerated in another state.

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of a shooting in Portland, Texas, that lesbian teen Kristen Chapa miraculously survived but that killed her girlfriend, Mollie Olgin.

Chapa told NBC News that the last year has involved many challenges in her recovery as she moved from a wheelchair to eventually using a cane to walk. Doctors say the trauma from removing part of her brain from the shooting resulted in injuries from a left-handed stroke, including hearing and vision loss.

Police haven’t found the man who approached the couple on June 23, 2012, forced them into a secluded area of Violet Andrews Park and shot them, but have narrowed it down to a suspect who’s incarcerated in another state. They haven’t identified a motive, but haven’t ruled out a hate crime. No arrest has been made yet, but Chapa said she wants the man caught, as she still fears for her life.

“I want them to hurry up and find the person because … there are still times where I find myself scared, wondering if they’re going to come after me,” she told NBC News. “I’m always looking around, seeing if I recognize anyone. There’s still a part of me that’s scared.”

Chapa has mourned losing Olgin and regrets the two of them fought the night of the attack. Olgin wanted to meet Chapa’s parents, but Chapa hadn’t told them she was gay, a fact police later revealed when they informed them Chapa and her girlfriend had been shot.

“Every day I think about her,” Chapa said. “I pray for her, just for her to watch over me.”

Chapa plans to go to college in the future, starting with one class at a time because heavy focus and concentration gives her headaches. She’d also require help taking notes and a tutor, but she said won’t let the shooting hold her back from being as close to 100 percent as possible.

“I’ve come a long way and I know I won’t be 100 percent again, but I’ll be pretty close to it,” she said.

—  Anna Waugh

Crime Stoppers video offers new details in shooting of S. Texas lesbian couple

Tri-County Crime Stoppers recently released a video with more details about the June 22 shooting of lesbian couple Kristene Chapa and Mollie Olgin in Portland.

Chapa, 18, and Olgin, 19, were found shot in a park the following morning. The video mentions that the teens were walking late a night when they saw a man walk past.

A few minutes later he returned with a mask and gloves. He forced them to a secluded area before assaulting and shooting them.

Portland police have said that no evidence existed to lead police to believe the shooting was a hate crime. But after months of investigating, police received few leads.

People have donated to raise money for a reward for information, including North Texans. Currently $20,000 in reward money is being offered for information.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and a scruffy beard.

Anyone with information should call the Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 800-245-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online. Reports may be made anonymously.

Watch the video below.

—  Anna Waugh

S. Texas lesbian reflects 3 months after shooting that killed her girlfriend

It’s been three months since Kristene Chapa, 18, and girlfriend Mollie Olgin, 19, were found shot in a park in Portland, Texas.

Olgin did not survive, but Chapa was found still breathing early the next morning and was rushed to the hospital. She eventually was able to communicate with police and helped them sketch a photo of the man responsible.

Chapa updated her Facebook status this weekend, reflecting on her recovery and life without Olgin.

“Today marks 3 months since my accident. I’ve learned life is so fragile and cherish the people you have in your life love them don’t take things for granted and buy pepper spray! they deserve it!” Chapa wrote, according to NBC News.

She also posted lyrics to the Kenny Chesney song “Who You’d Be Today,” a song about a person who died too young.

“I still need time but I am happy,” Chapa wrote. “I’m moving on.”

Moving on also includes dating again. Chapa noted in early September she was seeing someone else.

“I know people deal with things different and I’m not gonna sit in my room and cry over what happened,” she wrote. “I was heartbroken but I’m not gonna be single for the rest of my life … she’s in my heart but I needed something else. I wanted a girl to be there for me and understand what I’m going through.”

Chapa is still recovering in a rehabilitation facility while police await more leads that will provide more answers and justice for Chapa and her family. Dozens of leads were called in early on in the case but have since dwindled down to few.

“I love that people pray for me,” she wrote. “I really think that’s why I’m recovering so fast.”

Portland Police Chief Randy Wright has previously said that no evidence existed to lead police to believe the shooting was a hate crime.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build, weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and a scruffy beard.

North Texans have helped raise money for a reward for information.

Anyone with information should call the Portland Police Department at 361-777-4444. Reports may be made anonymously.

—  Anna Waugh